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The Military Knew About Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune for Years


One of the most frustrating parts about the health crisis related to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune is how long Marines, their families and staff at the base were exposed. We now know that the water used on the base for drinking, cooking and cleaning was contaminated as early as 1953, but it was not until decades later that the military acknowledged the problem and took steps to clean up the water supply.

The first warning came in 1980 when an official with the U.S. Army Environmental Hygiene Agency wrote in a report that “Camp Lejeune’s water was contaminated.”

Several months later, results from follow-up testing alarmed the same official enough to write, “Highly contaminated with other chlorinated hydrocarbons (solvents)!”; By 1985, the year the Marine Corps finally closed the tainted wells, testing had revealed the presence of trichloroethylene and PCE at levels 280 times and 43 times currently recommended for drinking water, respectively.

Getting rid of the tainted water was a necessary step, but so was compensating the thousands of veterans and family members who developed cancer due to exposure to these toxic chemicals. Water from Camp Lejeune has also been linked to birth defects in children born to parents living on base from the 1950s to the 1980s. But it was not until 2022 that a new law finally granted victims and survivors the right to sue for damages if they spent at least 31 days at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987. Ironically, after waiting decades for their chance at justice, time to make a claim is limited. Before losing your right to compensation for medical bills, lost wages and more, consult an attorney who represents disabled veterans.

You can contact our lead Camp Lejeune Attorney and Military Veteran Brandon Newberry at or call him directly at 317-428-2084.

Thank you for your service!